24 June 2012

Kony 2012: Analysis of Communication Success

Kony 2012. The web says it’s a scam, Whitespacelover says it’s brilliant! Other than Invisible Children Organization’s (IC) shady finances and its founders’ dubious behaviors (one is a topic in cheaterville the other “acted in a bizarre manner in public”), they did a fantastic job shaking the web. Scam or not, you must say kudos to the men of IC that even Rihanna pledged that she’d help the cause. This is something that most humanitarian organizations should be aiming at. So with marketing and design eyes, this is how I think the Invisible Children made a ding in the web. 

1. Kony 2012 viral video is nothing short of spectacular! No doubt Jason Russell, director of Kony 2012 and co-founder of IC brought his experience from film and theatre in the development of the video. This is something NGOs need, talented people who’s main concern is just to make sensational masterpieces. Don’t think of saving the children for a while, think doing a spectacular job, when done you’ll end up saving them by the dozens. Just think of the masterpiece, 2 weeks, 104 million views? That’s more views than a woman flashing her boobs in public and a million more views than a goat farting in Youtube! 
logo invisible children
Nice huh? Even the organization's name sounds cool. Invisible Children, say it with me...

2. Design and branding. This is a very important point that most NGOs don’t pay attention to. We’re visual animals, Larry Pole understood this by the looks of IC’s materials. The branding and design component of any entity is important; this creates an image that people can associate to a cause. Let me put this in marketing terms, a strong brand identity translates to brand recall and a solid following. Can you imagine Swiss products not stamped with the white cross against a solid red background?
info graphics of IC profits
Infographics from Invisible Children's site. Nice graphics, lots of profits!

3. Advertising mind. This is just me, but analyzing Kony 2012 I came to the conclusion that this is a classic advertising case–look for a good problem and find, ahem, profitable solutions. In this case, the problem is a very bad man who needs to be put into justice. Solution: show the crimes of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Woosh! It almost sounds like a tag for a movie. Not to mention, portraying the war criminal in cinematic proportions. Catchy and Entertaining? Profitable? Clearly yes! Though this is where IC becomes shady. Apparently, only 32% of the funds went to direct services and we never got the Kony kit!
Invisible Children shooting in Africa
Shooting the film. Looks like they're having fun.

4. Bobby Bailey, social entrepreneur and founder of Invisible Children. Why do I get the feeling that he understands the dynamics of business and marketing? Here’s where I think most people get lost. Sure, we’re trying to alleviate suffering and make the world a better place. But we live in a monetary system and we need money to retain a staff, have an office, run an operation and keep a project going. We cannot denounce profits and in the same breath ask donors to give more funding. In my opinion, IC understood this. Just look at how IC made profits. They made millions and now they could do another film! I strongly believe that NGOs should make even a small profit to become sustainable themselves. We live in a monetary system.
Founders of IC
Oh look! Guns and goons! Aright, let's take a photo, looks cool.

5. Deadly combination. Bobby Bailey, social entrepreneur. Jason Russell, film and theatre director. Laren Poole, filmmaker, producer and creative media. To my eyes this looks like a typical creative team at an advertising agency. Putting their wits together on an issue resulted to something that made a ding in the web.
Ask yourself, since when was the last time any NGO made it this big? There’s a lesson to be learned here somewhere.
What do you think? 
DISCLAIMER: The content that you’re reading is my personal analysis of Invisible Children’s success with Kony 2012 in comparison to the performance of most NGO campaigns I’ve seen in the past. This is in no means a criticism to the humanitarian sector but my own opinion of the matter. I'm not here to say who's right and wrong or to say if Kony 2012 is a scam or not.

Copyright © Whitespacelover a.k.a. Pong Li since 2010 All Rights Reserved, unless stated otherwise. You may copy and/or use the content of this blog only if you acknowledge this blog and other parties (if there is any) as the source of the material.

09 June 2012

Save The Restavek Children

It’s fun promoting our clients’ products and helping their brands grow, that’s my excuse for not saving Haitian children and helping Superman score a date with Louise Lane. Though, it’s very nice to know that there are good people at IOM who’re using their skills to actually help enslaved children in Haiti called Restaveks.

Unable to pay for their kid’s needs some parents voluntarily send away their children to become a Restavek, a.k.a. be enslaved and be abused for little or no pay. No freedom. Not fun. This system of modern day slavery has existed as long as rice and beans but no one seems to be doing anything about it until today. Thanks to the good people of IOM Haiti and Foyer l’Escale–a shelter for Restaveks–these children now have somewhere to run to and a chance to be reunited with their parents. Touching stories, really.

Even with our hands full with clients, we could all contribute to helping these children by promoting IOM’s campaign Frennen Sistèm Restavèk | End Restavek Abuse. Visit them, share, like and be part of the campaign or follow and give @FrennenRestavek a shoutout. Better yet, if you know of a Restavek child call 177 and help stop this form of modern day slavery! Or leave a comment below if you know of a Restavek child near you.

To the good men and women of IOM Haiti and Foyer l’Escale, kudos! 

Copyright © Whitespacelover a.k.a. Pong Li since 2010 All Rights Reserved, unless stated otherwise. You may copy and/or use the content of this blog only if you acknowledge this blog and other parties (if there is any) as the source of the material.

03 June 2012

Out of Whack

Crazy! Is such a lovely word to describe a wonderfully deranged, extremely pleasurable fun-filled past weeks (past months, actually). Now I’m really starting to believe that life is more like a Haitian taptap or driving in the streets of Port Au Prince. It’s crazy. And the only way to make sense of it is to be crazy yourself. And if you think about it, it’s not so bad being insane; you protect yourself from going completely bonkers or being wrongfully diagnosed with clinical depression! Not really sure if that made sense but it’s 100% certain that you’ll go nuts if you live each day pretending to be sane.

Haitian Taptap for JP Faubert, Illustrated by Whitespacelover
Past Project. Illustration of Haitian Taptap.

But let’s be serious for a while, haven’t you noticed that modern day life is insane? Why else would humans, sacrifice their health, happiness and the best time of their lives for money/career and then later retire to make up for the time they lost, do fun stuff in pursuit of happiness while throwing away their money to recuperate their health? Insane, isn’t it? 
So I say, from this point forward, let’s just loosen some screws, let go and let the world spin out of control like a taptap swooping downhill with its engine off and cheap made in China brake pads. Leave the serious stuff to people mad enough to be sane. The upside is, you’ll make better designs and illustrations once you’ve gone completely kookoo.

Copyright © Whitespacelover a.k.a. Pong Li since 2010 All Rights Reserved, unless stated otherwise. You may copy and/or use the content of this blog only if you acknowledge this blog and other parties (if there is any) as the source of the material.